Federal Government Shutdown
Posted: October 4, 2013
Although this last January's federal budget sequester had an impact on a number of government's functions, this past week's first federal government shutdown in nearly 20 years is slowly having a very real impact people all over the world.
In fact, an NBC Nightly News feature this week asked Europeans what they thought about the United States closing down its government. Most of the foreigners could not understand how the leaders of the world's largest economy can't resolve their differences.
Family friends who traveled north this past Tuesday to the Ashland and Bayfield area forgot that the October 1st shutdown of the federal government would mean that the National Park Service Visitors Center and other federally-operated parks would be closed. Fortunately, there are still many beautiful state parks that are open for business, but the Fall Color Tours planned to our north won't create the normal visitor impact had the government not closed its doors.
Likewise, I heard national news stories about families that traveled across the country and had planned trips for months to visit national parks who were shut out because lawmakers and the White House continue to dig in their heels to resolve their issues.
Even though the USDA Rural Guaranteed Loan Program does not affect Eau Claire County, federal funding for loans to eligible borrowers in Chippewa Falls, Menomonie or Rice Lake were not able to receive service because of our stubborn elected officials in Washington, D.C.
Lastly, sports fans of the football games at the nation's service academies had to wait until Thursday morning to find out if the games this weekend between Air Force and Navy and Army and Boston College were being cancelled. Apparently, the issue was whether the funds used by the schools are congressionally appropriated.
And yet, all of these issues pale in comparison to the importance of maintaining federal funds for the state's WIC program for young mothers or for our area food pantries.
No matter which side of the argument one takes with regard to the issues surrounding the federal government shutdown - namely the Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare) - there is no question we will all feel the pain if the issues aren't resolved by mid-October. That's when the country goes broke. Then we'll really be the laughingstock of the world.